49ers season preview: 5 storylines to follow

The 49ers have a new coaching staff, a new general manager, a whole new regime. Their job is to slowly rebuild a team that won only two games last season. Because of a few critical veteran additions and a relatively easy schedule, the Niners could return to the playoffs as soon as this season. But a few things must go their way, especially during training camp. Here are their top…

July 22, 2017

Kirk Cousins’ negotiations aren’t hopeful sign for 49ers

1 Let’s talk fantasy and reality — and economic reality, too. Here’s the fantasy: Kirk Cousins will sign with the 49ers next offseason and become the team’s best quarterback since Jeff Garcia. Is this scenario even realistic? Is there a legitimate chance Cousins will leave the Redskins and sign with the 49ers? Let’s address the fantasy first. Click here to read my Wednesday column, and make sure to check out…

July 18, 2017

Should the 49ers sign Kirk Cousins if he’s available next year?

The deadline for the Washington Redskins to sign Kirk Cousins to a contract extension before the upcoming season is 1 p.m. Pacific Time this afternoon. According to Adam Schefter, the Redskins are not expected to sign Cousins before the deadline. Kirk Cousins is not expected to sign a long-term deal by Monday’s deadline, but is open to doing deal with team after season, per source. — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July…

July 17, 2017

Bruce Arians explains why Colin Kaepernick is unemployed

1 Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians made some interesting comments about former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick Wednesday on Pro Football Talk Live: “He can play in the right system. He’s proven that. When he was with Greg Roman, that system fit him perfectly. He’s a read-option, athletic guy. He can throw it down the field with the play-action passes. He struggled against us in the past out of the…

July 14, 2017

Ranking all the NFL head coaches

1 This is my comprehensive, highly-subjective ranking of all 32 NFL head coaches, arranged in ascending order and grouped into four tiers. Note: There are only a few accomplished head coaches because owners regularly fire coaches. And there are significantly fewer exceptional coaches in the NFL than in college football because college coaches aren’t restricted to a draft and a salary cap. Click here to read my Thursday column, and…

July 12, 2017

20 reasons to feel optimistic about the 49ers in 2017

1 I’m not saying the 49ers will make the playoffs next season. I’m not saying they won’t, either. Here are 20 reasons to feel optimistic about them in 2017. 1. Kyle Shanahan is a major upgrade over former head coach Chip Kelly, who couldn’t build a play-action passing game or make a halftime adjustment. Shanahan can do both. 2. Brian Hoyer is an upgrade over former quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick’s…

July 10, 2017

Ranking the NFL divisions

1 Here’s how I rank each of the eight NFL divisions heading into the 2017 season: 1. AFC West. 1. Oakland Raiders. 2. Kansas City Chiefs. 3 . Denver Broncos. 4. Los Angeles Chargers. Analysis: Three of the four teams — the Raiders, Chiefs and Broncos — will make the playoffs. And the fourth team — the Chargers — will be tough. They underachieved last season because Philip Rivers’ weapons were…

July 7, 2017

Five 49ers with most to risk in 2017 season

1 Soon the 49ers training camp will begin and we’ll focus on players competing for starting jobs or spots on the final roster. But there are five people who tower over those training-camp competitions, five people with more on the line than everyone else. Here are those five people. Click here to read my Thursday column.

July 5, 2017

Comparing Brian Hoyer’s past 17 games to every other NFL QB’s past 17 games

1 San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Brian Hoyer played 17 games the past two seasons — six for the Chicago Bears in 2016 and 11 for the Houston Texans in 2015. Here are his stats from those 17 games: 62.8 completion percentage, 4,051 yards, 7.1 yards per pass attempt, 25 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 93.7 quarterback rating. Pretty good numbers, right? Here’s how they stack up against every other NFL starting quarterback’s…

July 2, 2017

Carlos Hyde a great fit for most NFL teams, but not the 49ers

1 By my count, Carlos Hyde could start for at least 19 NFL teams next season. He’s that good. But, are the 49ers one of those 19 teams? You’d think the answer would be yes simply because the Niners lack talent and Hyde is one of the few quality players they have on offense. But this is a tricky question. The Niners will have a new offensive system next season…

June 29, 2017

Giants thought they had talent to win, and they were wrong

1 Do not cry for the Giants. They’re not victims. They’re not suffering from bad luck. They’re not a quality team that’s underperforming. They’re not a left fielder or a third baseman or a starting pitcher away from being good. They’re not the second-worst team in the MLB just because Madison Bumgarner fell off a motorcycle and injured his shoulder. They’re not a few free-agent signings away from bouncing back…

June 27, 2017

Flag football featuring Terrell Owens, Michael Vick and Jeff Garcia starts Tuesday in San Jose

The brand new American Flag Football League will have its first game Tuesday night at 6:30 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, and will feature a team with Terrell Owens against a team with Michael Vick while Jeff Garcia does color commentary. When I heard this news, I thought three things: This game would be more interesting if it were Team Owens facing Team Garcia instead of Team Vick. Garcia…

June 26, 2017

Mike Shanahan is always at 49ers practices — good thing or not?

The head coach’s father stands below the goal posts in the end zone and watches the 49ers practice from a distance. There he is almost every day when the 49ers run drills. He wears a blue polo shirt, khaki shorts and black sandals. He doesn’t talk to anyone or take notes. He stands by himself, stoic, arms folded across his chest as he studies the players and the assistant coaches…

June 23, 2017

Colin Kaepernick says U.S. justice system should be dismantled, compares police to slave patrol

1 This is a few days old, but I’ll post it anyway. Just after the policeman who shot Philando Castille was found not guilty on June 16, Colin Kaepernick posted the following tweet: A system that perpetually condones the killing of people, without consequence, doesn’t need to be revised, it needs to be dismantled! pic.twitter.com/BVVPVZIQyD — Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) June 16, 2017 I understand Kaepernick’s anger — the killing of…

June 21, 2017

Five 49ers perched at make-or-break for their careers

Five 49ers perched at make-or-break for their careers: For some players, training camp is a nuisance they have to endure without getting hurt. For other players, it’s the last chance to fight for a job. This is about the “other” players fighting for a job. These are the five 49ers with the most to lose during training camp. 1. CARLOS HYDE Hyde will be a free agent after next season,…

June 20, 2017

The most underrated player on the 49ers

Arik Armstead isn’t the best player on the 49ers, but he is the most underrated. The former first-round pick has everything you want from an interior rusher. He’s tall, powerful and he collapses the pocket. He’s a human forklift. But lately he has become an afterthought since he missed eight games with a shoulder injury in 2016, and since the Niners spent back-to-back top picks on players who play his position —…

June 19, 2017

49ers post-minicamp depth-chart prediction

49ers post-minicamp depth-chart prediction: OFFENSE Quarterback: Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, C.J. Beathard. Analysis: Barkley and Beathard won’t play unless the 49ers tank the season. Wide receiver: Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, Jeremy Kerley, Aldrick Robinson, Trent Taylor. Analysis: The Niners will keep five wide receivers instead of six because the offense needs an extra running back. Tight end: Logan Paulsen, George Kittle, Cole Hikutini. Analysis: The Niners will cut Vance McDonald and keep Hikutini…

June 17, 2017